Hospital doctor retention study seeks participants for new online stage

New phase to document everyday working experiences from about 30 NCHDs and consultants

A new phase of the national hospital doctor retention and motivation study launches this month and is recruiting up to 30 NCHDs and consultants across specialties around the country to document their everyday working experiences.

They are hoping to talk to Irish-trained and non Irish-trained hospital doctors and are aiming for a real reflection of the medical workforce, as much as was possible, said Dr Niamh Humphries, Reader in Health Systems, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI).

While they recognised the difficulties of asking for doctors’ participation at this time, she added, “Their insights will be really important for policy makers and for the general public to understand what it is like at work in 2021 for them.”

The Hospital Doctor Retention & Motivation project is to use WhatsApp and Zoom to connect with hospital doctors over an extended period of time to learn about their day-to-day experiences of work, and the impact of Covid-19. Interview and ethnographic transcripts are to be anonymised in the compilation of the research.

The HDRM project had originally planned to carry out this fourth stage of what had been a four-year project overall on retention and motivation, and was now five years, by shadowing participants to carry out hospital-based ethnography. Instead, the team has adapted the next study to the online format.

The everyday working experiences of Ireland’s hospital doctors was the focus of the study for hospital doctors to highlight what was important for them in their working practice, Dr Humphries told Irish Medical Times. The team expects to see Covid-19, cyberattack challenges and contract issues come into the experiences as matters impacting on hospital doctors.

The HDRM team will start with a 45-minute interview on Zoom with participants about their work and themselves. Because they could not be on the ground with participants, they are to send three messages a week asking doctors to reflect on certain aspects of their work that week, through a series of guided prompts, which they will complete in their own time, eventually amounting to a collection of reflections on their work over a period of 12 weeks.

“This research will contribute to our understanding of the everyday work experiences of hospital doctors in 2021, providing an evidence base for the HDRM project to inform health policy going forward”.

Dr Humphries holds a Health Research Board (HRB) Emerging Investigator Award for the HDRM Project.

Further details and a participant information booklet can be accessed at hdrm2020@rcpi.ie or the website www.rcpi.ie/hdrm.

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